Friday, May 16, 2008


Did you see today's Tribune about Karidat having the highest clientele in 10 years? Karidat, is a non profit charitable institution in Saipan. I am not sure if they have satellite offices in Rota and Tinian. However, the rate has doubled in about a ten year time frame. If you really think about it, I think those numbers are growing at a minimal rate, given the total population on Saipan.

Given today's economic crisis, there is even a greater dependence on Karidat. However, do we want to promote dependence or independence? It makes it rather difficult because we were told to help others in time of need. Karidat is probably the only agency on Saipan that people can turn to for help. I believe the Saipan Mayor's Office also helps Saipan residents with paying their utility bills or something like that, I am not sure what it is called, but you can contact them to find out. The Mayor's office is 234-6208.

I was a poor student with a family to raise, college, books, tuition's and kids did not really match, so I helped out pack food at the local food bank. We packed and delivered food to the needy in our community, in return I was able to get some food myself. They were always fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables (even in better quality than what we see at our local supermarkets, which I am now getting used to again... ) It wasn't really for the food although what I got was very helpful, but it was also to help out the community. I would especially sign up to help pack gift baskets and food baskets for families in need during the holidays. The food boxes would include a frozen turkey and items to make all the trimmings such as stuffing, corn bread mix, cranberry sauce, etc. The bottom line is that all these were free, to anyone who claimed they were below the poverty level.

What do our residents in Saipan have? there are no food banks to turn to, for our residents. While I was away for school I remember reading a news article about 25 Chinese individuals whom were out of a job, several years ago. I remember it was around the holidays, and I remember the article stated that the displaced workers were "walking" to the Governor's office to ask for help. My recollections are from reading the story on the local newspapers online, as I was not on island. However, I remember feeling the need to help the individuals. I called some people and asked if they can pitch in and deliver cases of chicken and or ramen, sacks of rice or some sort of food to the group. The comments I got back were not favorable. So I laid in bed that night literally crying about how disappointed I was, that no one was willing to step up to help the foreigners. I guess I was already accustomed to living on the other side where I am not a part of the majority. It was election time and I did not read about any member of the legislature or any candidate for the legislature donating food to the individuals.

That was a memory that stuck to me for a very long time. I still think about it. I do not know what ever happened to that specific group of women, but every time I think about it, I have a greater need to start or begin a charity food bank. Of course the only issues that would need to be ironed out are the legalities of donating food and the liability of people who want to donate food. If local stores, fishermen, farmers can donate their produce and or products to the food bank in return for a tax credit, instead of having there produce expire or instead of selling expired items at 20% off (imagine, expired items and they still want to sell it, get rid of it, don't sell it cheaper!) Of course there are issues with a not for profit organization, which make it a turn off for some people.

So perhaps one day we can all join forces to create a non profit FOOD Bank, perhaps a distribution of food once a month, somewhere in a clean and decent building. One day, we can start meeting to plan the plan. FOOD BANK anyone?


dominic said...

I know what you mean. I have been to the food bank here in Washington when I was literally starving in college. Now that I have a job, I go to the supermarket near my work to grab something for lunch and I notice the food bank come in everyday to pick up the day after the "day old bakery" items.

I remember reading someone's blog about someone's shopping experience in Saipan and seeing lots of expired canned food on the shelves or something like that. Maybe its just too costly to write off inventory that doesn't sell in time, especially being in Saipan where most of our food is imported and becoming more expensive everytime the shipping fuel surcharges climb along with the price of oil.

If not a food bank then some other emrgency nutrition program needs to be considered. SE Asian States are already halting rice exports to meet the domestic demand. Can you imagine if there was no more rice in the Marianas?(I think the Marshallese know how that goes) You better make friends with whoever owns the nearest lemai tree!

Para i familiaku said...

I agree, it is definately a project that we need to get our folks working on.